In other sections of the Y2Y region where development has been more commonplace, partner groups have worked to create wildlife-friendly infrastructure to facilitate crossings of roads and other man-made obstructions. They have also set up tracking mechanisms for some species to monitor their success. Meanwhile, other partners have been focused on acquiring real estate parcels that can be left in a natural state or converted back from development to be included in the animal-friendly network of corridors.
In the Y2Y region, conservationists and scientists have focused on the preservation of grizzly bears — an “umbrella” species. Since grizzly bears roam such an expansive area of land in search of food and mates, they play a central role in maintaining the healthy functioning of an ecosystem. Given the population declines and genetic diversity loss of the region, conservationists have especially pushed for wildlife corridors to alleviate the habitat loss and fragmentation among grizzly bears.
Achieving the Y2Y vision has not come easy. Much of the region stretches across private lands. To accommodate both humans and wildlife, conservationists have worked with private landowners to ensure safe passage for wildlife without interrupting human lifestyles. Many oil, gas and mining projects also require access roads, which often cut through natural landscapes and degrade wildlife habitat.
While the Y2Y mission has come far in preserving the natural environments from Yellowstone to Yukon, the initiative calls for further collaboration from diverse communities. Whether it’s volunteering from local groups or partnerships with larger organizations, Y2Y aims to continue its vision of harmonizing a wild and wooly 2,000-mile swath of the North American West.
EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss for the 501(c)3 nonprofit EarthTalk. See more at https://emagazine.com. To donate, visit https://earthtalk.org. Send questions to: email@example.com.